After being walked out on by Tsukasa during school because of the photos, Tsukushi makes another plea for him to believe her. Even Sakurako speaks up, but Tsukasa is unwilling to listen to either of them. Tsukasa spends the night thinking about it all, and keeps staring at the scarf that Tsukushi put on him back in the elevator. At home, Tsukushi realizes that there must have been a third party around to take the pictures. Sojiro helps her try to solve the mystery, focusing first on the ring that the man was wearing the picture. Meanwhile, Sakurako goes alone to the Domyoji home to ask Tsukasa to help her search for the culprit. He throws a cushion at her, telling her to get out, but meets up with her anyway after his mother made several disparaging remarks about the pictures and what a bad person Tsukushi is. The two briefly run into Sojiro and Tsukushi, but Tsukasa doesn’t speak to her at all. Sojiro and Tsukushi’s investigation leads them to a club, where Sojiro takes up a search, while Tsukasa’s investigation takes him and Sakurako to the hotel room where the photos were taken. Sakurako tells Tsukasa how betrayed she felt, and how he must feel the same way. She then leans in to kiss him, but he suddenly bolts up and leaves, with Tsukushi still on his mind. Sakurako calls Tsukushi and tells her that Tsukasa has forgiven her, and that she should go to Sakurako’s house. Of course, Tsukasa’s not really there; he’s instead out on the street beating up thugs to vent his anger.
While Sakurako is out of the room, Tsukushi happens to see the yearbook open, and realizes that Sakurako knew the F4 from when they were young. However, she becomes frightened when she turns the page and sees Tsukasa’s picture shredded. Meanwhile, Sojiro finds his target, and learns that the man was hired by a woman who went by the name Cherry. At that same time, Akira discovers a bookmark inside of a handkerchief Sakurako dropped, and recognizes where it’s from. The two eventually put the pieces together and figure out that the culprit is Sakurako. By this time, Sakurako has taken Tsukushi hostage in the school cafeteria. She calls Tsukasa to tell him that Tsukushi is waiting and that he should come alone. Sakurako reveals to Tsukushi that she’s responsible for everything because she wanted revenge on Tsukasa. When Tsukasa arrives, Sakurako takes Tsukushi hostage with a knife. She orders her thugs to beat him up, and, for once, Tsukasa doesn’t fight back. After he gets thrown through a table, Sakurako reaches her limit, and cries out to ask why Tsukasa continues to take hits for Tsukushi’s sake. She flashes back to when they were young, when she presented Tsukasa with that bookmark, but he pushed her down and called her ugly. Sakurako reveals that she changed everything to become beautiful for him and can’t understand why he still rejects her. Frustrated that he can only call out Tsukushi’s name, she picks up a chair and slams it down on him. Much to her surprise, Tsukushi takes the hit for him. Having had enough, the disheartened Sakurako leaves. Now that they’re finally alone, Tsukasa painfully picks himself up and confesses that he did it all to protect Tsukushi, because he likes her. Days later, everything seems to have returned to normal with the two even acting like a couple. Tsukushi sees Sakurako getting bullied by the Bitch Three, and surprisingly goes to her rescue. She believes that the Sakurako who was amazed at her mother’s rice balls is the genuine Sakurako. Sakurako apologizes and runs out, and everything seems to have been resolved. As Tsukasa and Tsukushi are horsing around, they hear a familiar voice – Rui’s back!
I like the plot of this episode, but the execution of it is too melodramatic and cliché for my tastes. The lightening and all of Sakurako’s scary faces just felt too overboard. Sakurako seems to suffer from a dual personality disorder, easily bullied in school, but is herself the bully when she’s in her clubbing clothes. She does a lot better (in terms of breaking the Tsukasa and Tsukushi apart and hurting emotionally) when she was plotting from the shadows as opposed to when she reveals herself and had him hurt physically. The end result of her actions brings Tsukushi and Tsukasa closer together, which I guess is the point of it all. I’d rate this episode as the worst one so far, but that’s being compared to a set of pretty strong episodes.
But it is fun to see Sojiro and Akira take more active roles in this episode, even if they still only feel like supporting actors. I wonder if this drama is going to go far enough to develop their characters, or if it’s just going to focus on the Rui/Tsukushi/Tsukasa triangle. As expected, the cliffhanger for this episode is the return of Rui to stir things up again. And let’s not forget that Tsukasa’s mother hates Tsukushi more and more each episode. The preview also shows several shots of Tsubaki – Yay for more Matsushima Nanako!